[Updated Dec 2021] Container shipping is one of the most important and necessary means of cargo transportation through sea routes.
In present times, however, there does not exist any monopoly by anyone of the container shipping companies leading to a complete lack of friction and tension in the international cargo shipping community.
All the same, there are a few international container shipping companies that lead the race in terms of the scale of operation of their shipping lines.
Ten of these leading container shipping companies on the basis of cargo carrying capacity can be listed down as follows:
A shipping corporation based in Denmark, Maersk Shipping Line is a branch of the AP Moller- Maersk company. Widely well-known for its fleet of container ships, the Maersk Line made its debut in the international container shipping arena in the year 1904. At present, the company has a fleet of around 705 container ships with a capacity of around 40, 97,480 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units).
2. MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company
The Mediterranean Shipping Company, abbreviated to MSC is a Swiss international cargo company which was established in the year 1970. At present, with a vessel line-up of over 550 container ships, the conglomerate is rated to be one of the most extensive cargo companies in the world with TEU capacity of around 3,860,000.
3. COSCO – China Ocean Shipping Company
The China Ocean Shipping Company or COSCO, as it is popularly known as, is one of the leading conglomerates in terms of container shipping companies. At present, the company’s operations are spread over 40 countries with a fleet of 500 container ships with a container carrying capacity of 30,22,882 TEU.
France’s leading container shipping company, CMA-CGM came into existence in the year 1978, as a result of a series of mergers between previously established shipping corporations. Jacques Saade who is the head of the company was the instrumental force behind its coming into active operation. At present, the company has a fleet of over 560 ships operating in over 150 routes globally. It has a carrying capacity of around 30,15,200 TEU.
The German-based Hapag-Lloyd is one of the most renowned and well-featured companies in terms of international shipping companies. The company was established in the year 1970 as a result of a merger between the Hamburg-American Line and the North German company Lloyd. Today the shipping corporation has over 235 ships catering to about 17,24, 565 TEU container carrying capacity on a worldwide scale.
6. ONE – Ocean Network Express
Established on July 7th, 2017, One Network Express is an integration of three major shipping companies, MOL, “K”-Line, and NYK. Setup in Japan and headquartered in Singapore, ONE was founded to strengthen services in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The alliance of these three companies resulted in a combined fleet of 218 vessels with a container carrying capacity of 15,71,702 TEU, making it one of the largest container shipping companies in the world.
7. Evergreen Line
A shipping conglomerate based in China, the Evergreen Marine Corporation was founded in 1968 by Dr. Yung-Fa Chang, a visionary in his own right. At present, the company has offices established all over the world and with an operational capacity of more than 95 container ships and container carrying capacity of 12,79,000 TEU, is regarded to be one of the largest cargo shipping companies in the world.
8. Hyundai Merchant Marine
Hyundai Merchant Marine is a leading container shipping company based in South Korea. With a fleet of 72 vessels and cargo carrying capacity of over 719,000 TEU,, Hyundai Merchant Marine is one of the largest shipping companies in the world, moving the largest portion of South Korea’s exports. Being a top integrated logistics company in the world, HMM plays an important role in Korea’s economic development.
9. Yang Ming Marine Transport
Based in Keelung, Taiwan, Yang Ming Marine Transport is one of the oldest and largest shipping companies in the world. Established in 1972, the company provide services across Asia, Europe, America, and Australia with a fleet of 92 vessels. It has a container carrying capacity of around 623,000 TEU.
10 Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., commonly known as ZIM is an Israeli international cargo shipping company. It was founded in 1945 as the ZIM Palestine Navigation Company Ltd. Currently, ZIM has a fleet of 80 ships with a total container carrying capacity of 3,56,000 TEUs, making it one of the top 10 container shipping companies in the world.
Container shipping is a huge industry and these key players are aware of the minutest operational manoeuvrings necessary to power them to be the world leaders in the commercial enterprise, not just in their home countries but also at an international level.